Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bush recalls Russert as 'thorough, decent man'

Bush recalls Russert as 'thorough, decent man'

Sat Jun 14, 12:46 PM ET

President Bush mourned NBC correspondent Tim Russert at a news conference Saturday with France's president, calling the veteran newsman who died of a heart attack "a hard-working, thorough and decent man."

Bush said that he, Laura Bush and the American people have Russert's widow, Maureen, and son Luke in their thoughts and prayers, saying "I know they're hurting right now," and saying the 58-year-old Russert loved his job, his family and his country.

"America lost a really fine man yesterday," said Bush, who appeared with President Nicolas Sarkozy for a question-and-answer session with American and French reporters in Paris amid their talks on a host of country-to-country and global issues.

"We're going to miss him," Bush said of Russert, saying he had been privileged to be interviewed by the NBC correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the network.

Russert died of a heart attack Friday while at work at his network's Washington studios Friday.

Vice President Dick Cheney called his passing "a great tragedy."

Cheney, who has suffered from heart ailments in recent years, said, "I remember many occasions when we did the show when he would ask me about my health. But he never commented on his own; I was unaware that he had coronary artery disease. We could have compared notes. But it's a tremendous loss."

"One of the great things about 'Meet the Press' and the way Tim ran it was that you got an hour sometimes, if you had a big subject like we did in September of '01, where you could devote the whole hour to getting into a subject in depth," Cheney said in an NBC interview Saturday. "And Tim was never into 'gotcha' journalism. He would ask you tough questions, he would remind you of quotes you made previously in other settings or on earlier shows, so you never got away with anything going up vis-a-vis Tim."

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Russert Mourned After Collapsing in NBC's Washington Newsroom

Russert Mourned After Collapsing in NBC's Washington Newsroom

Kristin Jensen and Julianna Goldman
Sat Jun 14, 12:01 AM ET

June 14 (Bloomberg) -- Tim Russert, NBC News's Washington bureau chief, who collapsed and died in his Washington newsroom yesterday, was remembered as a skilled political analyst whose gregarious nature charmed his audience and the politicians who were subjected to his relentless questioning. He was 58.

Russert became famous for his penetrating interviews on the Sunday morning talk show ``Meet the Press,'' a program he hosted longer than anyone else, according to former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw. Russert was also a best-selling author whose books included a tribute to his father, ``Big Russ and Me.''

Brokaw announced the death on the air, telling viewers about Russert's childhood growing up in Buffalo, New York, his love for his family and his work ethic. Brokaw said Russert was ``one of the premier political analysts and journalists of his time'' and a beloved colleague.

``This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice,'' Brokaw said.

Michael Newman, Russert's doctor, said plaque ruptured an artery, causing a sudden coronary thrombosis, according to NBC.

Russert set the ``gold standard'' for moving from politics to journalism, said Albert Hunt, executive editor for Washington at Bloomberg News and a close friend. Before becoming a journalist, Russert worked as an aide to former Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1977 to 1982 and then worked for former New York Governor Mario Cuomo in Albany for two years.

Investigative Reporting

When Russert worked for Moynihan during the New York Democrat's 1982 re-election campaign, his research showed that Republican opponent Bruce Caputo's claims of Vietnam service were false. Caputo dropped out of the race.

``It was one of the most important moments in my life,'' Russert told the Washington Post in 1989, describing his research at the New York Public Library. ``It was investigative reporting at its best.''

Russert took over as anchor of ``Meet the Press'' on Dec. 8, 1991, and turned the show into the most-watched Sunday morning interview program in the U.S. and the most-quoted news program in the world, according to the network's Web site.

``There was no one who studied, prepared and worked as hard on a story as Tim; his only agenda was to inform and educate his millions of viewers,'' Hunt said. ``There was no one more generous or supportive of friends and colleagues; there was no one more fun to talk politics with, or just to be with.''

`An Institution'

President George W. Bush hailed Russert as ``an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades.''

``Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman,'' Bush said in a statement issued by the White House. ``He was always well- informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.''

Russert's effect on political journalism is evident almost everywhere. The Washington Post credited him with coming up with the phrases ``red states'' and ``blue states'' as a way of dividing the parts of the country that tended to vote Republican and those that aligned more closely with Democrats.

Russert's use of a white dry-eraser board from on election night 2000 is listed in TV Guide's ``100 Most Memorable TV Moments'' in history. He scribbled ```Florida Florida Florida'' and called the state the bellwether for that election.

This year, he was one of the first newsmen to declare Barack Obama the winner of the Democratic presidential nomination. After the May 6 North Carolina and Indiana primaries, he declared on the air, ``We now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be, and no one is going to dispute it.''


Obama, speaking to reporters yesterday in Columbus, Ohio, said he was ``grief-stricken'' by the news.

``There wasn't a better interviewer in television, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics,'' Obama said. ``And he was also one of the finest men I knew, somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family.''

Arizona Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, called Russert's death a ``shocking loss'' and called him the ``preeminent political journalist'' of his generation.

Former President Bill Clinton and Senator Hillary Clinton said Russert ``helped inform the American people and made our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation.''

When asked yesterday by reporters what it was like to be interviewed by Russert, McCain said with a smile, ``I once told him I haven't had so much fun since my last interrogation at prison camp.''

Born in Buffalo on May 7, 1950, Russert graduated from John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio. He earned a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland.

Russert's Technique

Russert used that training as an attorney to break down and examine public officials' comments, sometimes to their dismay.

At the Sept. 27 Democratic presidential candidates' debate, Russert quoted a ``guest'' on ``Meet the Press'' who said U.S. authorities should ``beat'' a terrorist who knew the location of a bomb set to go off. After Hillary Clinton disagreed with that view, Russert revealed that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had said it.

``So there is a disagreement?'' Russert asked.

``Well, I'll talk to him later,'' Clinton said with a smile.

On another occasion, Bill Clinton complained that the media had attacked his wife for saying she had been fired at when arriving in Bosnia during a civil war in the 1990s.

Bosnia Arrival

Russert showed video clips of Hillary Clinton repeatedly making the comment on the campaign trail during daytime hours and then showed the actual 1996 arrival in which she shook a Bosnian child's hand without a shot being fired.

``I'm sure I speak for all elected officials when I say he always asked the question we hoped he wouldn't,'' Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement.

Clips from his show often became part of history. Days before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney told him on ``Meet the Press'' that he believed U.S. troops would ``be greeted as liberators.''

Russert's colleagues and competitors offered universal praise for him yesterday.

``It is a tough day,'' CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer, moderator of ``Face the Nation,'' said in an interview with WTOP radio. ``Nothing pleased either of us more than to scoop the other. When you got one past old Russert, you felt like you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league.''

`Respected Colleague'

``This is a loss for the entire nation,'' NBC News President Steve Capus said in a statement. ``Everyone at NBC News is in shock and absolutely devastated. He was our respected colleague, mentor and dear friend. Words cannot express our heartbreak.''

Jeff Immelt, chairman and chief executive of NBC's parent company General Electric Co., called Russert ``a giant in journalism,'' praising his ``enduring honesty and integrity.''

Russert had just returned from a vacation to Italy with his wife, Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth, and his son, Luke.

``He was a great journalist, an even better father, husband and dear friend,'' Hunt said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kristin Jensen in Washington at ; Julianna Goldman in Washington at

Copyright © 2008 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2008 Yahoo All rights reserved.

Friday, June 13, 2008

NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58

NBC's Tim Russert dead at 58

By DAVID ESPO and LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writers
3 minutes ago

Tim Russert, who pointedly but politely questioned hundreds of the powerful and influential as moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press," died Friday of an apparent heart attack. The network's Washington bureau chief was 58.

In addition to his weekly program, Russert appeared on the network's other news shows, was moderator for numerous political debates and wrote two best-selling books.

President Bush, informed of Russert's death while at dinner in Paris, swiftly issued a statement of condolence that praised the NBC newsman as "an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it."

NBC interrupted its regular programming with news of Russert's death, and in the ensuing moments, familiar faces such as Tom Brokaw, Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams took turns mourning his loss.

Williams called him "aggressively unfancy."

Our hearts are broken," said Mitchell, who appeared emotional at times as she recalled her long-time colleague.

Russert, of Buffalo, N.Y., took the helm of the Sunday news show in December 1991 and turned it into the nation's most widely watched program of its type. His signature trait there was an unrelenting style of questioning that made some politicians reluctant to appear, yet confident that they could claim extra credibility if they survived his grilling intact.

He was also a senior vice president at NBC, and this year, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Russert had Buffalo's blue collar roots, a Jesuit education, a law degree and a Democratic pedigree that came from his turn as an aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.

One of his books, "Big Russ and Me," was about his relationship with his father.

On Sunday's program, Russert was to have interviewed Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a national co-chair of the McCain campaign, and Joe Biden, D-Del., an Obama supporter, in a debate format as surrogates for the two presidential candidates.

Praise flowed quickly from those who knew Russert across the television interview room.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Russert was "the best in the business at keeping his interview subjects honest."

"There wasn't a better interviewer in television," Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential contender, told reporters in Ohio.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Obama's rival for the White House, hailed Russert as the "pre-eminent journalist of his generation."

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, said Russert was "one of the smartest, toughest television news journalists of all time .... I can say from experience that joining Tim on Meet The Press was one of the greatest tests any public official could face."

Carl P. Leubsdorf, president of the Gridiron Club, an organization of journalists, said in a statement, "It was a measure of the degree to which Tim Russert was respected in the journalistic world that he was the first broadcaster elected to membership in the Gridiron Club after the rules were changed in 2004 to end our century-old restriction to print journalists."

"He was an enthusiastic member and a willing participant in our shows. His fellow Gridiron members join with all of those who knew and respected Tim in mourning his untimely death."

"It is my sad duty to report this afternoon" that Russert collapsed and died while working in the network's Washington studios, Brokaw said when he came on the air.

"He'll be missed as he was loved — greatly," Brokaw said.

The network said on its Web Site that Russert had been recording voiceovers for this Sunday's "Meet The Press" when he was stricken.

Russert had dozens of honorary college degrees, and numerous professional awards.

He won an Emmy for his role in the coverage of President Ronald reagan's funeral in 2004.

He was married to Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair Magazine. The couple had one son, Luke.


Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Conservative Case for McCain By Mark Sanford

Stock Market Politics
Stock Market Politics

March 15, 2008; Page A10

Last week, I asked David Walker, the U.S. comptroller general, why he is quitting his job to travel the country on a "fiscal wake-up tour." His answer: Because we have only five to 10 years to address the federal government's looming shortfalls before we're faced with a fiscal crisis.

In about a decade, the twin forces of demographics and compound interest will leave few options for solving the fiscal mess Washington has created. By then, our options will all be ugly. We could make draconian spending cuts, or impose large tax increases that will undermine our economy in the competitive global marketplace. Or we could debase the value of the dollar by printing a large amount of money. This would shrink the overall value of the federal government's debt. It would also wipe out the value of most Americans' savings.

Mr. Walker is right. And I join many others in saying that federal spending is now as significant an issue as the war on terror, federal judgeships and energy independence. The U.S. stands at a fiscal crossroads -- and the consequences of inaction, or wrongful action, will be real and severe.

Fortunately, the presidential election offers us a real choice in how to address the fiscal mess. To use a football analogy, we're at halftime; and the question for conservatives is whether to get off the bench for the second half of the game.

I sat out the first half, not endorsing a candidate, occupied with my day job and four young boys at home. But I'm now stepping onto the field and going to work to help John McCain. It's important that conservatives do the same.

[John McCain]

It's easy to get caught up in the pursuit of political perfection, and to assume that if a candidate doesn't agree with you 100% of the time, then he doesn't deserve your support. In fact, Mr. McCain is a lot closer to 100% than many conservatives realize. He has never voted for a tax increase in his 25 years in Congress. He holds an 83% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. He is listed as a taxpayer hero by Citizens Against Government Waste. And he is supported by noted conservatives Phil Gramm, Jack Kemp and others.

The process of iron sharpening iron is good for the GOP. But now, I believe, the time has passed for focusing on what divides us.

There is a yawning gulf between the viewpoints of Mr. McCain and those of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Nowhere is this more evident than on the critical issue of the steady collapse of our government's financial house.

Since 2000, the federal budget has increased 72%, to $3.1 trillion from $1.8 trillion. The national debt is now $9 trillion -- more than the combined GDP of China, Japan and Canada. Add in Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security commitments, and as a nation we are staring at more than a $50 trillion hole -- an invisible mortgage of $450,000 for every American family.

Hope alone won't carry us through the valley of the shadow of debt. The fact that neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Obama has made cost-cutting a part of their political vocabulary is a clear indication that they would increase spending. In fact, Mrs. Clinton has already proven skillful at snagging pork. Over the past few years alone, she has attached some $2.2 billion in earmarks to federal spending bills. Mr. McCain has asked for exactly $0 in earmarks.

And while Mr. Obama's oratorical skills have been inspiring, his proposals would entail roughly the same $800 billion in new government spending that Mrs. Clinton proposes. To his credit, Mr. Obama admits that his spending proposals will take more than three clicks of his heels to fund. He would pay for his priorities with a bevy of tax increases which he hopes taxpayers won't notice.

But taxpayers will notice. Mr. Obama plans to raise taxes on capital gains, dividends and corporate profits. He wants to hike estate taxes by 50%. And he wants to eliminate the cap on payroll taxes. These tax hikes would increase the burden borne by individuals and decrease the competitiveness of our economy.

I was elected to Congress in 1994 as part of a Republican Revolution that captured control of both the House and Senate. A number of us tried to apply the brakes to the Washington spending train. We didn't succeed. Six years later, I left Washington convinced that only a chief executive willing to use the presidential bully pulpit could bring spending under control.

Now, in John McCain, the GOP has a standard-bearer who would be willing to turn the power of the presidency toward controlling federal spending. Mr. McCain has one of the best spending records in Congress, and has never shied away from criticizing government pork-barrel spending.

The contrast between the two opposing teams is stark. It is time for the entire conservative squad to step onto the field. Who will join me in helping our team get the ball and move it down the field?

Mr. Sanford, a Republican, is the governor of South Carolina.

Burlington County College John McCain Similcast


BCC News

Senator John McCain to Hold Straight Talk Express at BCC 6/13

Released: 6/12/2008 4:51:46 PM

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain will hold a Town Hall meeting on Friday, June 13 on the Pemberton campus of Burlington County College.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets or pre-registration are not necessary.

Doors to the Physical Education Building will open at 9:30 am and the event will begin at 11am.

Overflow crowds can watch a webstream of the event from other locations on campus, or from any internet connection. Click here to view the webstream beginning at 10:45 am.

The meeting will also be broadcast on the college radio station, WBZC, 88.9 FM. click here to hear the station’s webcast. WBZC will also rebroadcast the Town Hall meeting Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 10:00 am during the County Corner Segment. Tune into 88.9, 95.1 (Burlington & Bristol area) 100.7 (Mt. Holly & Lumberton) and streaming on the web.

Barry Obama: The Media's 'Hancock'

Barry Obama, Punahou School class of ‘79

Have you noticed the liberal American media drooling over Barry Obama, the Barney Fife of candidates? Ironically, there is a Will Smith movie coming out that practically mirrors the media's ridiculously favorable propaganda of Obama. It is "Hancock". Some pictures follow.

Here is Barry Obama hamming it up for the media as well:

NEW JERSEY: CNN's Lou Dobbs mum on whether he’d run for governor


Associated Press • June 12, 2008

NEWARK -- CNN's Lou Dobbs isn't talking about rumors that he's thinking about running for governor of New Jersey.

Dobbs lives on a 300-acre farm in Sussex County. [Lou Dobbs 74 Quarry Rd, Sussex, NJ 07461 (973) 702-7773]

Dobbs said he's "not going to comment."

State Republican chairman Tom Wilson said the Dobbs buzz is circulating among GOP officials and fundraisers in New York City and Washington.

Wilson says the first thing Dobbs should do is register as a Republican. The CNN host switched from the GOP to an independent in 2006.

Dobbs gained fame hosting "Moneyline."

Gov. Jon S. Corzine became a multimillionaire on Wall Street before entering politics.

Corzine hasn't said whether he'll seek a second term, but the Democrat has reportedly started raising money.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

McCain to stop at BCC's Pemberton campus by David Levinsky


June 11, 2008 7:53 AM
Burlington County Times

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, is scheduled to bring his so-called “Straight Talk Express” campaign to Burlington County on Friday.

The Arizona senator and former Vietnam prisoner of war will appear at a town hall meeting at Burlington County College's Pemberton campus.

The event will be held in the college's physical education building and will be open to the public. Doors open at 10 a.m. A campaign spokesman McCain would deliver a short speech and then hold a lengthy question-and-answer session with the audience.

“He wants to talk about the issues Burlington County wants to talk about,” said Bill Stepien, regional campaign manager for the McCain campaign.

Although attendees are encouraged to RSVP on the McCain campaign Web site, Stepien stressed that doing so is not mandatory and that the event is open to all.

“The senator has a longstanding policy to keep events like this open,” Stepien said. “He'll absolutely take all types of questions. Tough questions, difficult questions, he'll answer them all. Everyone's encouraged to come out. We want as many people as possible to be able to participate.”

New Jersey has voted solidly Democratic in presidential elections since 1988, but Republicans believe McCain's popularity with independents and moderates makes the state firmly in play in November.

Friday's visit will the third by McCain to New Jersey this year. The GOP candidate appeared in Lakewood and Jersey City last month and at a rally in Hamilton, Mercer County, in January.

“He's been campaigning here (in New Jersey) and he's been campaigning often,” Stepien said. “He's here to win the state.”

The latest poll of New Jersey voters still gives presumptive Democratic nominee Illinois Sen. Barack Obama the edge. Released Monday, the poll by Rasmussen Reports, found 48 percent of likely New Jersey voters favor Obama compared to 39 percent for McCain, with 6 percent favoring third-party candidates and the rest undecided.

Rutgers political science professor Ingrid Reed recalled that President George W. Bush visited Burlington County during his re-election campaign in 2004 as did Vice President Dick Cheney.

“Hey, if you're in the neighborhood why not stop in and campaign in New Jersey. Bush did in 2004 and he was at least able to narrow the margin, plus Burlington County is a good place for rallying Republicans,” Reed said, noting that the county's location would likely attract media from both Philadelphia and New York City markets.

She said an additional benefit would be to boost the campaign of 3rd district GOP Congressional nominee Chris Myers.

“Burlington and Ocean just went through bruising primaries, so this could be something that can bring Republicans together,” she said. “It's a good way to mend fences.”

Myers' campaign confirmed yesterday that he will attend and participate in the event with McCain.

“Chris (Myers) and Senator McCain share a lot in common. They're both Navy veterans who have a history in their lives of putting public service first,” said Chris Russell, Myers campaign manager. “Chris is excited to be a part of the program Friday and having the senator at the top of the ticket.”

Burlington County Republican Committee Chairman Bill Layton said Republicans across the county are excited about the visit by McCain, both because of his status as GOP standard bearer as well as his standing as a former prisoner of war and war hero.

“There are a vast number of veterans living in Burlington County who have fought for this country and look at this guy as one of them,” Layton said. “He's a hero who at the end of the day almost gave his life for his country. Whether you're Republican or Democrat, you have to respect that.”


Monday, June 09, 2008

Myth: McCain=Bush


Monday, Apr. 08, 2002

The Thorn in His Side, Part II

George Bush signed John McCain's campaign-finance-reform bill with as little fanfare as he could last week--he even had an aide phone the Arizona Senator with the news instead of inviting him to a signing ceremony. Bush hopes enactment of the bill, which McCain has pushed for seven years, finally shifts the spotlight away from his nemesis in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. G.O.P. Senators would also like a breather from McCain's legislative reforms.

Don't bet on it. In an interview with TIME, McCain says he wants to capitalize on the campaign-reform bill's success by following it with other initiatives, such as getting states to adopt campaign-reform laws and giving the Federal Elections Commission greater enforcement power.

McCain also wants to halt a practice Congress holds dear--"earmarking" federal funds in budgets for pork-barrel projects back home. The appropriations bills for 2002 have more than 7,800 earmarks. The waste "has become outrageous and obscene," says McCain. Earmarks in the 2002 defense bill, which he calls "war profiteering," would cost $3.6 billion.

McCain plans to mobilize the grass-roots activists enlisted for the campaign-reform bill and his presidential bid to push these causes. But many members of Congress, re-elected on how much bacon they bring home, will fight to keep earmarking even more fiercely than they did soft money. Says a senior Senate G.O.P. aide: "McCain will be able to make his points on 20/20, but it's highly unlikely he'll get legislation passed."

--By Douglas Waller


Friday, Mar. 29, 2002

McCain: After Finance Reform, What?

I interviewed McCain last week and found he wants to capitalize on the success of the campaign reform bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold, not coast on its success, and has plans for other ambitious initiatives. Excerpts from our talk:

TIME: So what's next?

John McCain: We have a crowded agenda ranging from getting the patients' bill of rights done to national service to reform of the military to a broad range of telecommunications issues. And I can now focus a lot of time and attention to pork barrel spending, which has become outrageous and obscene.

You've talked about strengthening the enforcement mechanism for the Federal Elections Commission?

A. Yes, we're going to have to do it. First thing we have to do is simplify language for the FEC so that they'll know exactly what we meant (with the campaign reform bill). Then we're going to have to look at legislation to reorganize the FEC to make it an agency that can be effective.

What happens after that?

One of the things Russ Feingold and I will be doing is trying to assist state initiatives that ask us to support efforts that reform their campaign systems. We'll help the states that want us to. We don't intend to come parachuting in and say here's what's best for you. But you'll see ballot initiatives in various states for campaign finance reform.

When the final vote came two weeks ago on campaign finance reform, what went through your mind?

It was mainly relief. It has been a very tough, very bruising ordeal. What this was really all about was taking power away from people. Whenever you do that you provoke very deep resentment.

Are you trying to patch up frayed relations with other senators?

Most members who were staunchly opposed to campaign reform came up to me and said, "Congratulations. You fought a good fight. We're ready to move on." The resentment isn't really coming from my colleagues. The resentment is out there in the right wing community — the Rush Limbaughs, those people. (Republican) Sen. Larry Craig came up and said, "I don't agree with you, but nice job." In fact, just about everybody said that. I think (Republican) Sen. Mitch McConnell's statements were largely genuine when he said we've had a very hard fight but it was an honorable encounter. Most of these guys are mature enough to take a loss and understand that you just move on. And the other thing is that when you've got a 51-49 Senate, you need every vote.

They can't ostracize you like they did Sen. Jim Jeffords, who bolted the Republican Party and gave the Democrats the majority in the Senate.


There are Republicans and some Democrats who hope you'll fade away now. You've had your time in the spotlight.

That's not what I believe public service is all about. There are a lot of issues that I have been involved in and continue to be involved in. There's also an old adage in politics and life: nothing succeeds like success.

Will you run for reelection in 2004 or retire from the Senate?

I haven't contemplated that because I don't think there's any reason to until after the elections in November.

What kind of options have you been mulling?

I really haven't been thinking about it much, to tell you the truth. I want to see what the lay of the land is after the November elections. I'm sure that issues such as whether Republicans have control of the Senate or not and what I think more needs to be done will be factors. I think there are a lot of factors to be considered. I've believed in public service, but I'm also not getting any younger.

Any thoughts of mounting a presidential campaign in 2004 or 2008?

No, I haven't any contemplation of it. The way things stand now I do not envision a scenario where I would run for president.

Do you plan to campaign in 2002 for Republican candidates who supported campaign finance reform?

I want to do whatever I can to help particularly those Republican freshmen congressmen like Rob Simmons and Mark Kirk and others who had the courage to vote for CFR. They obviously would be my highest priority. I really owe them.

The White House sees you as a thorn in its side. How do you see your relations with Bush evolving?

My relations are very cordial. When they say that I've been a thorn in their side, it might be nice for them to be specific. I campaigned on campaign finance reform. That was pretty well known. I campaigned on the patients' bill of rights. We had our differences, well articulated and ventilated during the primary.

Any thoughts of switching to the Democratic Party or becoming an independent like Jeffords?

Oh, no. I am a profound, fervent disciple of Theodore Roosevelt and I'd like to try to shape the Republican Party back more into his mold, with a vision of America's greatness — conservation, environmentalism and compassion for those who are less well off in our society.

Is the Republican Party eager to be reshaped?

Listen, we're either going to expand the base of the party or we will be a minority party over time, especially in my part of the country. The demographics dictate that, particularly in the West and Southwest.


Monday, Jul. 26, 2004

10 Questions For John McCain

He has been a frequent thorn in George W. Bush's side, and was wooed by Democrat John Kerry as a potential running mate. Now John McCain will get prime exposure at the Republican Convention, and some G.O.P. strategists even wish for the impossible: dumping Dick Cheney as Bush's Veep in favor of McCain. TIME's Douglas Waller talked with the maverick most wanted:

SHOULD DICK CHENEY REMAIN ON THE G.O.P. TICKET? Absolutely. He and the President have a very important relationship, which will endure. There's always talk about the importance of who the running mate is, but it's been since Lyndon Johnson that a vice-presidential candidate has truly swung an election.

WOULD YOU ACCEPT THE NO. 2 SPOT IF BUSH OFFERED IT TO YOU? You always have to consider a request by the President of the United States. But in 2000, when I met with [Bush] in Pittsburgh, I said I wasn't interested, and I'm not interested now.

YOU'VE OPPOSED PRESIDENT BUSH ON EVERYTHING FROM THE GAY-MARRIAGE AMENDMENT TO LARGE TAX CUTS. WHY ARE YOU STILL SUPPORTING HIM FOR PRESIDENT? We agree on more issues than we disagree on, and I am a strong supporter of his national-security policies in general and Iraq in particular. I think Bush has led the nation with strength and clarity since Sept. 11 and has earned the trust and confidence of the American people.

HOW SERIOUS WERE THE OVERTURES JOHN KERRY MADE TO YOU ABOUT BEING HIS RUNNING MATE? There was never a formal offer. The subject was discussed, but I at all times said no.


GEORGE TENET RESIGNED AS CIA DIRECTOR BEFORE THIS REPORT CAME OUT. BUT SHOULD OTHER HEADS ROLL IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY? I think more people probably should be held responsible. I don't know exactly who they are, but there were people in positions of responsibility. And when we receive the 9/11 commission report and the report by the weapons of mass destruction commission, on which I serve, I think we'll have a clear idea as to who is responsible. An unfortunate aspect of Washington today is that we're all responsible--therefore no one is responsible.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING IN IRAQ? I'm very worried. I believe we must win. But I think that there were significant failures after the military victories--among them the Secretary of Defense's obstinacy concerning the number of troops that were necessary, for which we are paying a very heavy price.

WITH ALL THE INDEPENDENT ORGANIZATIONS SPRINGING UP TO CIRCUMVENT THE MCCAIN-FEINGOLD CAMPAIGN-FINANCE LAW, DO WE NEED ANOTHER ROUND OF REFORMS? No. We only need a Federal Election Commission [FEC] to enforce the existing law. A lot of good things have happened since the law was passedincluding dramatic increases in small donors. But the Federal Election Commission simply fails to do its job. We're going to have to reform the FEC.

If Kerry is elected president, would you consider serving in his cabinet, say, as secretary of defense? No.

RON REAGAN IS SPEAKING AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION. ARE YOU JEALOUS? Since I'm in both candidates' commercials, I was hoping I could speak at both conventions. [Laughs.]